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(November 15, 2001, Gazette)

Pushing for a personal best

(L-R) Dennis Flynn (L) helps professor Alex Faseruk serve up some of Dr. Faseruk’s famous chili as a fundraiser in support of Mr. Flynn’s trip to the World Bench Press Championship.(L-R) Dennis Flynn (L) helps professor Alex Faseruk serve up some of Dr. Faseruk’s famous chili as a fundraiser in support of Mr. Flynn’s trip to the World Bench Press Championship.

Christmas will come a little bit sooner for Dennis Flynn this year. In early December, Mr. Flynn, the acting manager of information technology at the Faculty of Business Administration, will be heading to Christchurch, New Zealand, to compete in the World Bench Press Championship. It’s a chance of a lifetime to compete at an international level and experience the other challenges which that country has to offer.

Mr. Flynn has been bench-pressing competitively for the past two to three years; however, he’s been lifting weights to increase strength and endurance for other sports since he was a teenager.

“Basically, lifting weights was a great way to condition myself for other interests. I like to run marathons and cycle and keep active and lifting weights is a great way to boost endurance and reduce strains and injuries,” said Mr. Flynn.

An avid sportsman, Mr. Flynn is looking forward to his trip to New Zealand.

Dennis Flynn prepares for his first parachute jump.Dennis Flynn prepares for his first parachute jump; he enjoys activities that promise an adrenaline rush.

“I’m not going to do anything crazy prior to the competition,” he said. “But after the event, I want to go hiking and explore the country. I’ve also been checking into some bungee jumping operations.

“I’m always looking for a little bit of adventure,” added Mr. Flynn who enjoys scuba diving, polar bear swims, and other activities that promise an adrenaline rush. “The thrill from bench pressing comes from lifting a weight that I never thought possible prior to training.

“It’s all about setting a goal and going after it,” he said. “For instance, I always wanted to cycle across the province. When I first thought about it, it seemed like a huge challenge. Once I started, however, it wasn’t that bad at all and I’m glad to say that I accomplished that cycling trip a few years ago.”

Training for strength sports such as power lifting and endurance sports such as cycling or running requires two different regimes; however, Mr. Flynn finds a way to learn from all his experiences. Apart from physical training, there’s a lot of mental preparation needed to be able to compete at such an elite level.

“Distance running and cycling teach determination and how to visualize a goal. It usually takes a long time to cross the finish line or reach your destination. With power lifting, however, you have to mentally switch gears to concentrate and focus all your energy into a few seconds of intense effort.”

Though he doesn’t have a coach, Mr. Flynn admits that he has some great training partners. According to Mr. Flynn, one of the great things about power lifting is the sense of camaraderie between competitors.

“Power lifters have a common enemy — gravity,” he said. “Competitors encourage each other to do their personal best. A competition is really a gauge of what you can do on a particular day.”

And while bench pressing is an individual sport, Mr. Flynn is grateful for the amount of support he’s received from the people around him. “There are a lot of people pushing for me, from friends and family to co-workers. Everyone has been really supportive.”

At the international event, Mr. Flynn will be competing in the 165-pound weight class.

“It’s an honour to represent your country and I’m really looking forward to the experience. I’ve set a goal and the best that I can do is to accomplish that. The rest is just a bonus.”

Of course, few adventure seekers are able to sit still and enjoy the moment and Mr. Flynn is already looking ahead to his next goal. “I want to qualify for and run the Boston Marathon just once.”